I just completed my first group dance course and started attending my first few social dances. At the most recent dance I encountered the situation (more than once!) where a second man asked me to dance right after I had accepted the invitation of a first man.
In both cases the first man was not holding my hand, either because we were moving out from sitting behind a table and toward the dance floor or because we were standing on the edge of the dance floor chatting while waiting for the music to start.
What is the best reply to the second man? Also, any help with understanding the social cues and etiquette related to this situation would be helpful, as it was not covered explicitly in dance class.
Traditionally it is the man that answers with something like "sorry she just accepted a dance with me". Now if its a "rescue dance" then something like "oh I forgot I promise this dance to you" to the second man and "sorry" to the first.
I say, "Sorry, I have already accepted this man, but if you like I'll save the next waltz (or whatever) for you". More importantly, dance etiquette requires you to sit out a dance if you refuse the first man who asks. So if I don't want to dance with the first guy, which is certainly my right, I sit out the whole dance. Don't be pressured into dancing with someone you don't want to dance with. Some guys act like if they ask, you must say yes. I even had one man yell at me when I politely turned him down.
True anymouse, and it sends a clear message to the jerk that they are doing something wrong. Men who behave badly usually don't last long where I dance because no one will dance with them. But some women really don't know that they can say no. So lucky you Dance_sponge, nice to have two men want to dance with you. If you think the second guy isn't going to get up the nerve to ask you again and you want to dance with him, you can always ask him.